Alabama's gain
May 18 2001 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Alabama's gain | Friday, May 18, 2001

Friday, May 18, 2001

Alabama's gain

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor Imagine that Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski announced that he was leaving to coach at Auburn - or that Dean Smith, at the height of his career, had left the University of North Carolina for Alabama. That's how I felt when Steve Scoggins, pastor of First Baptist Church in Hendersonville and one of North Carolina's finest leaders, first told me God had called him to another First Baptist, but in Opelika, Alabama.

Ouch.

Steve is a pastor par excellence. His heart is in seeing people come to Christ, promoting missions and serving his church. He has not been distracted by the lure of impressive titles or political power, steadfastly refusing to run for Baptist State Convention offices that he could have won.

Beyond family devotion, about the only thing that distracts Steve from being a pastor is the chance to teach prospective pastors, as he has done part-time at Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute since 1993.

That, and a quick dance step now and then. In 1995, Steve and his talented wife, Karen, sang and danced their way through the lead roles in a local production of The Sound of Music.

When Steve came to FBC Hendersonville in 1992, the church had 2,194 members and an average attendance just more than 1,000. When he left on May 6, the church had 3,244 members and was averaging 2,363 folks in attendance at four (count 'em - four) morning worship services every Sunday. The church has sent out more than a dozen career missionaries.

An excellent preacher, Steve has been a pioneer in offering worship options that include not only traditional and contemporary services on Sunday morning but a monthly liturgical service on Sunday evening. He successfully led a highly diverse church to surpass its budget six years in a row, build a new $4.2 million Children's Education Center, and lead the Baptist State Convention in Cooperative Missions giving from 1996-1999. In 2000, FBC Hendersonville and Calvary Baptist in Winston-Salem were the first churches ever to contribute more than $300,000 through the BSC's budget plans.

In an age of contention, Steve (who is unabashedly conservative) has worked faithfully and cheerfully to promote cooperation and understanding between Baptists of differing theological persuasions. We have needed that.

I don't know much about Opelika, except that it's close to the Auburn University - and that it's one lucky town. North Carolina's loss is clearly Alabama's gain.

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5/18/2001 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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